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Poverty in Samoa - Research Paper Example

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Samoa is formed by a group of islands (nine) in the Pacific Ocean. The islands played an important role in colonization of the Pacific region by the major Western powers. …
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Poverty in Samoa
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Download file to see previous pages Samoa is formed by a group of islands (nine) in the Pacific Ocean. The islands played an important role in colonization of the Pacific region by the major Western powers. According to statistics collected in 2009, the country has a population of approximately 183,203 with life expectancy being 66 years for male and 70 years for females. The composition of GDP by sector stood at services 75.4%, industry 13.2, and agriculture 3.4%. The Samoan economy largely depends on tourism, capital flows, agriculture and manufactured exports. Since 1962, when Samoa got independence, the country is governed by an elected parliament. The country’s economy has been struggling to regain its lost glory after two consecutive cyclones that hit it, in 1990. Since then, the government has tried to introduce different economic reforms in order to improve the economy with no success. Some of the measures that were set aside by the government include liberalization of exchange control. Although some improvements were recorded in 1994-1996, the economic growth slowed down by the end of the decade. The condition was worsened by tsunami and an economic downturn that followed the tsunami. Consequently, according to the statistics by United Nation, Samoa is categorized among the 50 least developed countries in the world (UNDP & Samoa Bureau of Statistics, 2010). A study conducted showed that poverty and inequality in Samoa are a key hindrance to the development of the country. Scholars have divided the major causes of poverty in Samoa into three: Economic causes, Social causes and Political causes. One major economic cause is the issue of difficulty in exploiting resources. This can very clearly illustrated by the ignorance or undervaluation of domestic tourism in the country (Scheyvens, 2007). Study has indicated that while the country is very keen on promoting tourism internationally, domestic tourism is completely ignored and this has been a major pull back since a lot of revenue which lies with domestic tourists is lost. The government tends to focus on maximizing its foreign exchange earnings and will therefore mostly ignore the part of domestic tourism. This is due to the belief that with the high foreign exchange earnings the government will be able to pay its foreign debt. The government also has an assumption that more money can be earned by attracting tourists who can afford luxurious goods and services. Contrary to this assumption, study shows that domestic tourism also makes a significant economic contribution since it is not subject to problems arising from travel booking systems, changing international tastes, perceived economic threats or world economic threats. Moreover, while the international tourism will be subject to fluctuations due to seasonal changes, domestic tourism on the other hand can hold a constant number of tourists for a long period of time, unless affected by external forces such as natural disasters. A social cause of poverty in Samoa is the lack of access to basic services (Amosa, 2012). A recent research conducted showed that the citizens of Samoa had unlimited access to health provision, decent meals and clean water. The problem of sanitation is also rampant in the country due to lack of fresh water for cleaning. Consequently, sanitation affects both domestic and international tourism in the country thus, leading to increased poverty levels in the country. A survey conducted in the year 2002 and 2008 also indicated that Samoa had been trying to advance in its social development but still, the subject of inequity was very rampant in the country with most of the households struggling to meet their basic needs (UNDP, 2010). A key ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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